July 19, 2011

Building Information Modeling (BIM) and the Power Plant

James Andrews, Facilities Planning and Management ’12

Co-op Employer: J.C. Cannistraro, LLC  

Position: Project Manager

Hometown: Plymouth, MA

His Second Home on Campus: The Power Plant—the building on campus that houses the boiler plant and electrical generator. James Andrews, BFPM ’12, spent his co-op semester managing a Building Information Modeling (BIM) project for J.C. Cannistraro, LLC. The project involved assessing Wentworth’s Power Plant and producing a complete 3D model, photos and specs of equipment, and trackable data and stats.

Why BIM?: “Instead of rolls and rolls of blueprints and binders with submission and maintenance reports, the information is all in one place in the computer—photographs, operations manuals. It’s hard when you go into a building and you have one set of blueprints and they’re really old and ripped. Every building is going to have a digital copy like this someday.”

Breaking Virtual Ground: Builders usually use BIM to plan construction, but Andrews’ project was a kind of case study on how BIM could be used to study an existing structure. “In the beginning, I would be asking a lot of questions,” he says. “But then toward the end I was meeting with my managers only once a week and doing a lot on my own.”

His Role: As the project manager, Andrews was the key point of contact for vendors and other staff members contributing to the project. There were also Wentworth students involved from architecture and mechanical engineering majors. “I learned a lot from the students in other majors,” he says.

The Takeaway: “I liked that the project was really open-ended. In school you’ll have a paper—something specific. At Cannistraro they would go over the goals and if I needed help I would ask someone, but they let me get it done my way.”

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